University of Maryland, Baltimore County (USA)
Plenary title: "I identify as a fan, like, since the beginning of time": Incorporating Fanfiction into English teacher education in Sweden
Fanfiction, defined as stories that reimagine or reinterpret existing stories, characters and universes found in other texts and media (Jamison, 2013), represents a means of bridging extramural language learning and use (Sundqvist & Sylven, 2016) with formal classroom-based language teaching and learning. Understandably, one of the challenges in transporting practices from the digital wilds (Sauro & Zourou, 2019) into formal educational contexts is ensuring that such activities still maintain a level of authenticity.
Accordingly, this talk examines the six-year implementation and iterative redesign of a pedagogical fanfiction project embedded in an English teacher education course at a Swedish university. This fanfiction project was initially designed as a means to bridge the divide between language and literary learning often found in language teaching (Paran, 2008; Sauro, 2014) and was developed as part of a required course in the teaching of literature and creative writing for future Swedish secondary school teachers of English (Sauro & Sundmark, 2016).
In response to student feedback and analysis of student learning, the fanfiction project has been revised each of the six years it has run. Revision included not only change in the selection of source texts to better capture students’ popular culture interest (i.e. from Tolkien’s The Hobbit, to Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, to Rowling’s contemporary Harry Potter series) and knowledge but also the increasing incorporation of fan input on task design, in class writing activities, and identification of examples of fanfanfiction to analyze and use as models for writing.
About Dr Sauro:
Shannon Sauro is a specialist in technologically-mediated language teaching and learning and second language literacy. Her areas of research include the intersection of online fan practices and language learning and teaching, and the role of virtual exchange/telecollaboration in language teacher education. She has trained teachers of English in both Sweden (at Malmö University) and the United States (at the University of Texas at San Antonio). Shannon is editor of the books CALL for Mobility (with Joanna Pitura), The Handbook of Technology and Second Language Teaching and Learning (with Carol A. Chapelle), and of the special issue on “CALL in the Digital Wilds” of Language Learning & Technology (with Katarina Zourou). She is active on two European-funded projects: Fanfiction for the Teaching and Application of Languages through E-Stories (FanTALES) and Evidence-Based Online Learning through Virtual Exchange (EVOLVE). Shannon is a past president of the Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO) and is currently communications officer for UNICollaboration, an international organization for virtual exchange.